RACE: Small Bore preview 12 Hours of the Point

5th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point Small Bore predictions 27 May 2003: While the overall winner of the 5th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is likely to come from Improved Touring E, Improved Touring S or SpecMiata, there will...

5th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point Small Bore predictions

27 May 2003: While the overall winner of the 5th Annual Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is likely to come from Improved Touring E, Improved Touring S or SpecMiata, there will be other class battles taking place during the May 30-31 race. The long front straight at Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia is brutal on the smaller classes and attrition will play an important part in determining which teams will take the victory.

In Improved Touring A, three cars are contesting the coveted 12 Hour crown. Robert Roth of LaCrosse, Wisconsin is returning to defend his 2002 to victory and will be challenged by Roland Hahn's Mazda RX7 and Jeff Kolaczkowski's Volkswagen Scirocco. Even though there is a soft spot in our heart for Hahn's team -- in 1999 they entered in a car painted in a way that can only be described as "Only a mother would love it" -- we just do not think that the Mazda can beat a Honda. Honda's have dominated this class and our nod has to go to Roth's team.

Improved Touring B has rebounded to five entrants from last year's disappointing two entrants. The class will be dominated by the BMWs. We expect reigning MARRS GT Pinto co-champion Bruce Shelton to take the class victory in his Auoty, Inc. BMW. Shelton and his co-drivers are not only fast, but also produces extremely reliable cars. The BMWs, however, are old cars and if reliability becomes an issue, our dark horse candidate is the Volkswagen Golf GTI of Greg Shaffer.

Improved Touring will see only one entrant this year -- Summit Point, West Virginia's Mark Baracka.

The Spec RX7 class, a favorite in previous events, has only three entrants this year. Two of these entrants -- Al Gervais of Sterling, Virginia and Denny Austin of Brookeville, Maryland, are DC Region members. The third, Tony Lee, easily wins the longest tow award this year. Mr. Lee is from Azle, Texas and is a member of the Lone Star Region. Our prediction is for a victory by the very experienced Denny Austin, but we will be rooting for Mr. Lee to pull the upset. Anyone that hard core to tow from Texas deserves to win his class -- sorry Denny.

Showroom Stock C will see five entrants competing for the class win. John Walsh a Finger Lakes Region member from Honey Falls, New York is expected to win his fifth consecutive SSC 12 Hours at the Point victory. The Nissan of Webster/3J's racing team is the only team to win SSC at the 12 Hours at the Point and we are thinking about petitioning to have the SSC trophy named after him. Dark horse candidate is regular MARRS championship competitor Joe Leonard. Leonard knows the track, has endurance racing experience and finished second last year.

Special Production -- U is a new class this year and to be honest, we have no idea which of Becton Davis' entries will take the class victory. Mr. Davis is a DC Region member from Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.

In the who knows what class, we have the Honda del Sol of Gainsville, Georgia's Sam Lockwood. Mr. Lockwood, an Alabama Region member, forgot to tell us what class he entered.

Rain, however, complicates everything. Summit Point has gone nearly 30 days without a sunny day and it has rained on most of those days. As of Tuesday before the race, there is a 30% chance of rain and if it rains, luck will play a role almost as large as skill. If it starts to rain just after a team has pitted, they will face a difficult decision -- pit again for rains or hope that the track will dry out quickly?

The Kumho Tires 12 Hours at the Point is open to spectators and will take place rain or shine. Practice and qualifying take place on Friday. The race starts promptly at Noon. For more information, go to www.12hoursatthepoint.org.

-dc region-

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Series SCCA
Drivers Joe Leonard , Sam Lockwood